Sunday, February 26, 2006

Today's Sunday Times Wince-Fest

Reading the Sunday New York Times, particularly its editorials and op-ed offerings, is always an adventure for anyone who does not adhere to a rigid-left point of view. "How much wincing will I have to do this morning?" we all ask ourselves, I am sure. I call it the "wince factor."

Well, today's edition was truly a wince-fest. At least three winces on every page. Now, before I get to the winces, I should point out that the Times did run a decent, intellgent editorial on the UN Human Rights Commission that actually -- I think this may be a first for the edit page -- had something nice to say about John Bolton! I kid you not. Here it is.

But apart from that, it was just the usual conglomeration of winces. The Empty Suit.... oh my. As I indicated a few weeks ago, Barney Calame has clearly given up. All pretense of being an actual "public editor" is gone. I mean, a column on corporate discounts for Times employees? What's next? A column on the food in the Times cafeteria? (Oh, we do have a little item on the ports-controversy coverage. Everything A-OK!) My face was wincing so much I thought I had a nerve disorder.

"House conservative" David Brooks writes another lame column, this one about a convention on democracy in the Arab world. "William Safire's replacement." Yeah, right. Sure, Safire's shoes were tough to fill. But Brooks doesn't even try. You have to pay good money to Times Select to read his column. Why would anyone do that? "So now these [Middle East] democrats face a choice: live with the corrupt regimes of the status quo or embrace the rising Islamist parties like Hamas." Thanks, guy. Didn't know that.

Sarah Vowell follows with a phoned-in Katrina-genre Bush-bashing and Nicholas Kristof says the port controversy demonstrates prejudice toward Arabs: "But since 9/11 there has been a nativist, Know-Nothing streak in politics; a year ago it blocked China's deal to acquire Unocal, and today it rages at the Dubai ports deal." I won't post links because it isn't necessary -- these guys are just repeating what they always say.

Hey, don't tell me about "know-nothings," feller. All one has to do is pick up the Sunday New York Times, and the "know nothings" are out in force -- always the same monotonous, shrill, predictable drivel. And a little touch of the Empty Suit to tell us what a great paper it is in!


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Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Dumb Assault on Good Reporters

I was a lonely defender of Judith Miller back when she was under politically motivated attack -- though I backed off when she published a confused, phony defense of her position. But the subpoena yesterday of two reporters for Dow Jones by the Securities and Exchange Commission gives me no misgivings whastsoever. This is a clear case of intimidation of two tough reporters and I hope my conservative friends join me in calling for the SEC to back off.

What makes this whole thing particularly weird is that it seems to have been instigated by one of the wackiest CEOs around today -- Patrick Byrne. A couple of weeks ago I took Byrne to task for his nutty comment that his private litigation was a "jihad." This New York Times column today on this jackass is on the mark. He is engaged in outright bullying of the press, targeting bastions of the liberal media as the New York Post and his arch-enemy, Dow Jones. Two reporters there have gotten under his skin, and apparently he was able to persuade the dopey SEC to go along.

As I have said repeatedly for many months, as I've excoriated the lousier practitioners of journalism, there are still a surprising number of good ones out there -- working at places like Dow Jones, and generally not on the political or foreign policy beat. Those of us who condemn the bad apples of the media should stand by the good ones when they are under attack.


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Be Kind to Criminals Week

Did you know it was Be Kind to Criminals Week? No? Well, just take a look at this mind-numbingly dumb column in the Washington Post and you'll see what I mean.

Columnist Marcela Sanchez begins by observing, quite accurately, that members of rapacious Latin youth gangs "are linked to drug trafficking and thousands of gruesome murders from Tegucigalpa to the Washington, D.C., suburbs." So what shall we do about this scourge? A federal task force? Mobilize the National Guard? Why no. Reality TV is the solution!

Says Sanchez:

Carlos Zuniga, Guatemalan business leader and mentor to five of the 10 [gang members involved in the show], was once convinced, as most Guatemalans are, that the gang problem can only be solved by law enforcement. Through his participation in the show, however, he came to believe that most of the gang members are in fact victims of poverty, abuse and abandonment, and that Guatemalan businessmen can no longer afford to be seen as "soulless with no social conscience."

Yeah, victims of gang extortion and violence need to get a little "social conscience" instilled within them and show the proper sympathy for their tormenters! Gee, I never thought of that. What's say we all go down to the local penitentiary and free the unfortunate souls unjustly imprisoned there, so that they can rape and murder and kill and we can all sleep at night, knowing that we have souls -- and a social conscience!


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Friday, February 24, 2006

The Education of Don Luskin

Don Luskin, who had once sung the praises of "aggressive" New York Times public relations editor Barney Calame, posts on his blog about a PR-shill email from Barney responding to a note from Don. The latter had written the "aggressive" Barney concerning what he describes as "Paul Krugman's lie that Indian tribes' contributions to Democrats fell nine percent after they hired Jack Abramoff."

Calame's response was "aggressive," all right, as in "Get lost, mack."

Hey, they don't call him the Empty Suit and "worthless" for nothing. So Don, still think he's an improvement over Dan Okrent?


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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Adventures in Bullying at the New York Times

Editor & Publisher has a fascinating tale that speaks volume about the testy, biased, increasingly detestable Grey Lady of 43rd Street.

Seems that a highly qualifed journalism student from India applied for a New York Times internship and got turned down. Why? Because he is a student of Allan Wolper, who occasionally takes potshots at the Times.

Here is the text of an email the student received from Nancy Sharkey, senior editor/recruiting:
“Hi Kejal, Based on what Allan Wolper has written about us, I cannot imagine that he would want one of his students to intern here. I guess if we need students from New Jersey, we will go elsewhere. Best, Nancy.”
Talk about a bully in a pin-striped dress. Unbelievable. No, strike that. Believable. (Hat tip: TimesWatch.)


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Monday, February 20, 2006

Hamas 'Pragmatism' and Palestinian 'Innocence'

Yep, it's clear. Hamas is now OK, as long as its genocidal polices are implemented with a handshake and a smile -- or, to use media-speak, if it is led by "pragmatic" terror chieftains. Honestreporting has a solid takeout on this Hamas "pragmatism" nonsense, which I explored previously here.

The emerging pro-Palestinian line was expressed in the Washington Post today by former "president" Jimmy Carter. In an op-ed that reminds us why he was the most despised commander in chief in recent history, Carter warns: "Don't Punish the Palestinians."

Well, why not? After all, didn't they elect Hamas? I mean. . . no! no! says Carter. That was done by Martians. They are innocent! And above all they are oppressed!

Describing reports of joint U.S.-Israel efforts to isolate Hamastan, the elderly peckerwood says as follows:

This common commitment to eviscerate the government of elected Hamas officials by punishing private citizens may accomplish this narrow purpose, but the likely results will be to alienate the already oppressed and innocent Palestinians, to incite violence, and to increase the domestic influence and international esteem of Hamas. It will certainly not be an inducement to Hamas or other militants to moderate their policies.
Be nice to Hamas, and all will be fine. This line of pap may gain some traction, by the way, if the Pals go back to their effective policy of doubletalk.

But fortunately for Israel, when the Hamasniks say they don't want negotiations with Israel, they mean it. So the horrifying prospects for another "Oslo" are, for the time being at last, dead and buried. As they say in Georgia, "Hallelujah, brother!"


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Friday, February 17, 2006

A New Times Myth: The 'Pragmatic' Terrorist

In today's New York Times we see an example of a new myth in the process of formation. The old myth, "the myth of Palestinian moderation," is still alive, but it is looking so silly recently that it has been joined by a new myth: the "Myth of the Pragmatic Hamas."

Thus we have a story today entitled, "Pragmatic Hamas Figure Is Likely to Be Next Premier." After first noting that Abbas is "moderate," despite ample evidence to the contrary, we are told that "Hamas plans to nominate Ismail Haniya, viewed as one of its less radical leaders, for prime minister." We are told absolutely nothing to support this point of view, except that "While considered to be part of the more pragmatic side of Hamas, he endorses its fundamental positions."

In other words, he favors destroying Israel, establishing an Islamic state, using suicide bombings to murder Israeli civilians -- but he's a realistic guy! Pragmatic! Not a dreamer with unrealistic goals.

In an accompanying article out of Washington, meanwhile, the Times reports this breathtaking scenario in the event aid to the Pals is cut off:

The Palestinian Authority employs about 140,000 people, including 58,000 security personnel. Some Europeans say throwing them out of work would be analogous to dismantling the Iraqi Army after the invasion in 2003, sending into the street armed men who might then join radical militias.

Nossir, we don't want that! We want them to remain in the barracks, like World War One doughboys, singing "Lili Marlene." The Times is clinging still to one of its other myths, which is that there exists Pal "security forces" that aren't little more than gun-toting thugs.

So, old myths and new are coexisting cozily at the Times, which continues to prefer fantasies to reality in describing the Israel-Palestinian conflict.


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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Snowfall in New York

It was snowing in New York today -- as in snow job, falling from the pages of the New York Times. The lead editorial, The Trust Gap, is a shrill anti-Bush polemic about which one can only say, "Haven't we read all this before?"

It was almost as if Times editorial writers had placed a quarter in their "Bush Bash Jukebox."

Meanwhile, on the following page, ace "readers representative"Barney Calame announces the results of an investigation into a burning coverage issue. Seems the Times has been omitting roll-call votes from its Congressional coverage.

Wait a second. That can't be right. I know that Barney is bad -- I don't bother to call him the "Empty Suit" anymore as it too obvious. But a story on roll calls? No newspaper ombudsman, not even Barney, is that bad.

Stephen Spruiell of the National Review is right: I've been reading the Times too much. I've started hallucinating.


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Friday, February 10, 2006

A Special Award: Worst Times Single Issue

Today's New York Times must surely go down in history as one of the most ideologically slanted single issues I have ever seen. It should be preserved in plastic, as it will be studied by historians in the future as a superb example of the humbling of a once-great newspaper.

The lead story, with a screaming three-line headline, is an exaggerated piece on a "scoop" revealing how the Bush administration reacted so terribly to Katrina.

Elsewhere on the front page is a rather murkily written story, which any competent editor would have stuck on the TV page, having something to do with a conservative official leaving the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Then we had a piece about how poor, innocent immigrants are being bullied and deported by nasty U.S. immigration officials.

Meanwhile, if you get beneath the Bush-bashing on page one, buried inside is an article that should have been on the front page -- how al Qaeda tried another Sept. 11-style attack on Los Angeles in 2002. Oh no, conservatives doing something or other at the CPB is much more important!

Note the syntax in the first paragraph of the Qaeda piece: "President Bush offered new information on Thursday about what he said was a foiled plot by Al Qaeda in 2002 to fly a hijacked airplane into..." etc. etc.

What "he said was"? How about simply saying, "what was"? I'm not being picky here, by the way. This wording, which was also used in the front-page blurb, is a deliberate and clumsy questioning of the president's credibility -- the kind of language one generally finds in articles on lawsuits but not in presidential accounts of attempted attacks on this country.

Well, what else do you expect? This once-great newspaper is, at its worst, a daily edition of Counterpunch. And today we were treated to the worst.

UPDATE: The National Review Online's media blogger, Stephen Spruiell, commented as follows (in a very nice pickup of this item):

"I think Mediacrity has spent too much time lately reading the NYT. Being able to spot issues of the New York Times that are more biased than others is like being able to tell individual squirrels apart."

Right analogy. Wrong rodent.


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The Jericho Non-Event

The release of 46 Palestinian terrorists (56, according to Debka) from a Jericho jail -- as ordered by the "moderate" PA boss Mohammed Abbas -- was all but ignored by the media today. Not one word in the Washington Post and one paragraph at the end of a New York Times article. The wire services seem to have completely well ignored this atrocity, so there was little pickup in newspapers generally.

This "jailing" was always a charade, as was the supposed involvement of American and British officials in "confining" these murderers. Among them, though not released, was the murderer of Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi. Still, it's really hard to find a more compelling example of the media's indifference to "official" Palestinian involvement in terrorism. But as usual, the media ignore such things even when it is shoved in their faces.

A good example is the deadpan treatment that the Times gave today, in the same article mentioned above, to the obvious complicity of Palestinian in an attack on the Karni crossing.

About half of the workers had gone through Erez by 4 a.m. when the flood of laborers suddenly stopped, Israeli officials said. Israel security officers called their Palestinian counterparts, but did not receive a coherent explanation, they said. Then at 4:30 a.m., the two Palestinians attacked an Israeli military position with grenades and gunfire, the military said.

And? And? That's all, folks.

The bias -- in this case, sloppy, incomplete reporting -- is so egregious it's almost comical. Or at least it would be if wasn't systematic.

UPDATE: Good roundup on the Jericho prisoner nonsense, a disgusting sham dating back a few years, in the ever-readable IRIS blog, here.


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Thursday, February 09, 2006

End of a Charade

The Jerusalem Post reports today that the "moderate" Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas ordered release of thirty-nine Islamic Jihad terrorists from a Jericho jail. Twenty prisoners remain, including the murderer of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi.

IRIS points out that this imprisonment, supposedly under the supervision of American and British officials, was little more than one big joke.

It will be interesting to see how the media handle this further example of Palestinian Authority complicity in terrorism.

(Oh, and -- I have an aside to corporate bozo Patrick Byrne -- got another example of what "jihad" means, Patrick bubby. Walking up to Israeli officials and putting a bullet in their heads.)


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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Corporate 'Jihad'

Today's Bad Taste in Corporate Bloviating award goes to Patrick Byrne, CEO of a company called Overstock Inc. A reader tells me that in a conference call with investors yesterday, Byrne repeatedly referred to a lawsuit he filed against some investors as a "jihad." So says the transcript.

"I know, people seem to want to, some people never want to hear about my Jihad, I don’t even really want to talk about my Jihad anymore but some people have expressed an interest," said Byrne. He went on like that a bit more elsewhere in the conference call. Not a word about Byrne's offensive use of the word in the media.

Uh, Patrick baby, jihads are crazy Arabs killing people, such by blowing up those two buildings in downtown Manhattan that aren't there any more. They're not you hiring some lawyers to get money.

Byrne is the same clown who last year made a weird reference to the supposed pro-Israel bias of Tom Friedman of the Times (see this rant) in an Internet posting, and also likes to ramble on about the "Israeli mafia" controlling most of the ecstasy trade in this country.

Blogger Jeff Matthews observed, "What on earth, I asked, did Tom Friedman’s supposed pro-Israel bias have to do with the subject of Byrne’s rant, other than that all Byrne’s targets in the piece were Jewish?" About the same as much as a "jihad" has to do with a lawsuit, I guess.

Next time Byrne is in downtown New York, he may want to stop by Ground Zero to see what a real "jihad" is all about. And it ain't about hiring some guys in pinstriped suits.

Byrne apparently views himself as a kind of junior league George Soros, and in November gave $5,000 to the leftist, Soros-funded Campaign for America's Future, which among other things helped fund commercials lashing out at Tom DeLay.


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Ombudsmen to Readers: Drop Dead

The Empty Suit, New York Times public relations editor Barney Calame, joined three other newspaper ombudspersons at a forum in Washington the other day to swap war stories and discuss a common irritant -- those dag-blasted readers!

But don't you worry, Calame & Co. know it's all a sham, and they revealed as much at the forum: They cope with job-related stress by ignoring reader complaints, especially those that come in by that new-fangled invention called the "email."

OK, that is hardly earth-shattering news, particularly as it concerns Barney, who essentially functions as a Times flack and is notorious for ducking tough issues. Still, it was interesting to hear from the horses' mouths just how much contempt these supposed "reader representatives" have for the readers they are supposed to represent.

Calame was joined by ombudspeople from the Washington Post, National Public Radio and PBS in saying, essentially, that readers could go take a flying leap. As reported by FishbowlDC:
When the discussion drifted to the actual on-the-job machinations of the four ombudsman, it was hard not to get the sense that all four ombudsmen found readers to be, well, quite a nuisance, especially the feedback generated by website driven email campaigns.
The problem is that readers are so dang selfish. Get this pearl of wisdom from Calame: "People see it only from their perspective." Damn them. They should do what Calame does, and think of the feelings of editors and reporters before making complaints about silly things like systematic anti-Israel bias!

Calame went on to say that "I get hundreds and thousands of emails that are inspired by blogs and that are made easy by one or two clicks. Discounting those..." The rest of this sentence is not reported by Fishbowl, but I assume it was something like, "discounting those, the rest of the readers agree with me that the New York Times is swell!"

Concludes FishbowlDC: "So, I hate to break it to you MediaMatters, Media Research Center, and the rest of you: You're largely being ignored."

Hey, you're not telling us anything we didn't already know. They don't call Calame "worthless" for nothing.


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Monday, February 06, 2006

MediaChannel Feels the Islamic Pain

MediaChannel.Org is a tiger when it comes to press freedom -- with a bit of Iraq war-bashing and left-wing posturing thrown in. You name it, and this "global network of the democratic media" -- which proudly carries a vague endorsement from Walter Cronkite -- is right there on the barricades. Usually.

Today, however, MediaChannel came down foursquare for all the virtues of restraint and self-censorship that would make a rigid-right ideologue happy.

The reason is -- you guessed it -- those Danish cartoons of Mohammed that sent the whole Islamic world up in flames in righteous anger. Bad! Bad! Naughty! So says a particularly vacuous article by MediaChannel boss Danny Schechter.

Reporting from the Gulf, where he has been attending some kind of press event, Schechter phoned in a piece that has a reasonable enough title: "Media Incitement Inflames the Middle East." But when you actually read it, you see that the "incitement" that he's talking about isn't real incitement, like the daily barrage of anti-American and anti-Semitic propaganda, but rather the latest excuse in the Islamic world to burn buildings:

There has been, in some quarters, a sanctimonious insistence that uncensored freedom of the press is absolute, without much awareness that the cultures in an uproar are not societies with traditions of tolerance. Would the reaction have been any different if the cartoons were crudely racist or anti-Semitic?
Apparently Schechter is the only person on the planet who is not aware that anti-Semitic cartoons are a daily staple of the Arab and European media, with barely a peep of reaction from anybody.

It gets worse: "I was struck by many Arab voices at the Al Jazeera Forum who noted that there is less media freedom and room for the expression of all views in the US, in most of our media outlets, than they have in their societies. They see our media as keeping Americans uninformed almost by design."

And? And? What does Schechter have to say to this psycho attitude? Nothing. Hey, just acting as a stenographer, relaying pap like that and like the view of Khaled Mishaal, head of the political bureau of Hamas, who "insists they do not hate Jews as Jews but rather opposes Israeli policies and practices. 'Our conflict with you is not religious,' he says, 'but political.'" Yeah, sending in suicide bombers to kill kids is just like pulling switches in a ballot box.

Well, as Uncle Walt used to say, that's the way MediaChannel is. A dog's breakfast of champions, served up raw every day, only this is odious even by MediaChannel standards.


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Payments to Terrorists? What Payments?

Critics have complained for years that the New York Times is systematically biased against Israel in its editorials and news coverage. We saw that again today, in a Greg Myre story that coldly equated the targeted killing of terrorists with the murder of an Israeli civilian, dismissing both as morally equivalent "episodes of violence."

The depths of this bias, as well as the downright ignorance at work here, was revealed in a recent exchange of correspondence between a reader and the deputy foreign editor of the Times, Ethan Bronner. In an earlier exchange, Bronner revealed that Hamas is not described as a terror group because it does good stuff. In his more recent email, Bronner displays an abysmal ignorance of elementary facts.

In a query two weeks ago, the reader asked Bronner why the Times, in a story on the "moderate" Palestinian Authority, had failed to note that the PA "is still making martyr payments to the families of suicide bombers."

"Thus," the reader noted, "[PA Chairman] Abbas' complaints about about forces trying to ruin the process could be taken with a grain of salt, since the PA, which he heads, still contributes to the problem of suicide bombing by making payments to families. Why wasn't this in the reporting?"

Bronner's response -- well, I think this needs to be duplicated in full:

"From: Ethan Bronner (
Subject: Re: The Latest Suicide Bombing
Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2006 11:40:33 -0500

The PA says it stopped making such payments 18 months ago. Can you tell me the source of your information? "

The source was not some mimeographed newsletter or even a humble blog like this, but rather the Wall Street Journal. According to a Dec. 22 op-ed article by Tom Gross, citing the official Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the payments were continuing under Mohammed Abbas.

I delayed this item at the reader's request to give Bronner a chance to respond further on that point. No further emails came, however.

Obviously it's not reasonable to expect for a newspaper editor to read every single piece in every single newspaper. But the Gross piece, which had direct bearing on the Times's coverage of the PA, was in a direct competitor of the Times. Guess he missed it. Not important. After all, those suicide bombers merely cause "episodes of violence," in which victims and murders are morally equivalent -- in the eyes of the Times.


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Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Times Reaches Back for a Smear

The New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Stephen Erlanger, in a profile today of Israel's new foreign minister Tzipi Livni, reached way back into history to mention the Irgun -- the underground movement in the pre-Independence Israel, which was disarmed and integrated into the Israeli armed forces after a painful, and sometimes violent, intra-Jewish struggle.

It's a useful historical analogy -- one that the notoriously pro-Palestinian Erlanger did not, of course, make in his caustic portrait of Livni. Instead, he used Livni's parents' involvement in the Irgun to take a gratiutous slap at her, saying that Livni "is also a deeply Israeli figure, the daughter of Zionist guerrillas — terrorists in some eyes — who met in the Irgun, the underground organization that fought the British and the Arabs, and that blew up the British headquarters in the King David Hotel in 1946, killing 91 people."

The ghost of the Irgun is again brought up in the same profile, again for no apparent reason, as Erlanger observed that "the Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, compared Hamas to Likud. . . [and Livni] was quick to point out that Likud is a parliamentary party with no military wing and a commitment to democracy, which has supported all government decisions."

Gee, you'd think that Erlanger was trying to make a statement here, wouldn't you? Unfortunately, rather than just spit it out -- in, say, an opinion piece in Counterpunch -- he just drops in "Irgun" references.

This from the newspaper that goes out of its way to distance Hamas from the terrorism that is its only "military" tactic.

As an example of the extent to which the Times functions as a daily apologia for Palestinian terrorists, in another article today we get the following surreal comment:

"Mr. Abbas has called on Hamas to abide by existing agreements made by the Palestinian Authority, which included the internationally backed peace plan known as the road map."

The road map, of course, calls for action against terror groups -- in other words, Hamas. If the road map had been implemented, there would be no Hamas at all. Leave it to the Times to not mention this logical absurdity from the present day, while at the same time diligently dragging up historical trivia to smear Israeli officials.


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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Times Delusions Growing More Isolated

The media is taking a far more clear-eyed view than usual of the Palestinians in the wake of their takeover by a murder gang -- see this editorial in the Los Angeles Times, this one in the Detroit News and this excellent Richard Cohen column in the Washington Post.

"Don't Be Fooled By Hamas," is the title of the Cohen column, in which he, like the LA Times editorial, urged that the world cut off financial to the Palestinian Authority. Said Cohen:

"From here on they will lie about their ultimate aim and smilingly assure us that what they have always said they no longer mean. Their intention is clean government, efficient garbage service, good schools and level soccer fields -- and also to con Europe and America into continuing to send money to the Palestinians. All over the world, people will believe them and urge the United States and Israel to do the same. Take my word for this. Anyone can see the future. It's all in the past."

The New York Times, of course, can see neither the future nor the past, and its lead editorial today shows that the Times is obviously in mourning over the death of its cherished myth of Palestinian moderation. The Times is clearly showing signs of an almost schizophrenic detachment from reality, as shown by this incredible comment: "If ever there was a time of opportunity for the few remaining souls who have not given up on chances for Middle East peace, now might just be it."

Election of an Islamic government that wants to destroy Israel. Yes! Yes! An opportunity for a settlement. Just what I was thinking.

Going on in that incredible vein, the Times says that "It could also be argued that Hamas can become a negotiating partner for Israel."

Get a load of this "rationale": Unlike the Palestinian Authority, which refuses to crack down on terror groups (including, the Times murmurs, "well, Hamas") as required by the Road Map, Hamas "is far better able to deliver on the deeds, if it should so choose. The problem is, it refuses to say the words."

Whew! I'm a little dizzy reading that. Hamas wants to dismantle itself but is just too shy to admit it.

That's the Times editorial line. You really have to wonder if the people who signed off on this editorial really believe such nonsense. Can't the Times take no for an answer? Even its news columns are beginning to accept the reality of Hamas. Delusional statements like this are simply silly and undermine whatever credibility the newspaper's editorials have on this subject.

But even while predictably urging Israel to release money to the Palestinian Authority, the Times could not bring itself to argue that aid to the Pals not be cut off. "Presumably that decision can be made later — when a Hamas-dominated government is formed." Let's see what excuses the Times makes at that point.

However, even this inane Times editorial could not bring itself to make the customary "let's blame Israel for everything" line of pap. It concluded that "In the end, what happens will be up to the Palestinians and this new Hamas government that they have elected."

The Times of course will continue to press forward with its monotonously pro-Palestinian line whenever possible. But in doing so, the Times, like its friends the Palestinians, will be increasingly isolated in its stance. And if it continues with this kind of dog's breakfast of an editorial, it will accomplish nothing except to make itself look ridiculous.


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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Debut of The Erlanger Plan

Erlanger: A man with a plan

In a "news analysis" (translation: news-page editorial) today, the New York Times's Steve Erlanger urges governments to quit fussing around with nonsense designed to "please Israel" -- and get down to the hard work of appeasing Hamas and turning a blind eye to its genocidal ambitions and terrorist methods.

Erlanger rolled out what I guess you can call The Erlanger Plan, aimed at giving Hamas a smoke screen behind which it can pull the strings of a supposedly terror-free Pal government. He began by showing his usual solidarity with the terror gang. In his view this isn't a murder mob that blows up civilians in buses, but rather a civil rights organization. You know: The right to vote, the right to free speech and the right to violence. Hamas, he says, "defends the right to use arms to combat Israeli occupation."

Well now, I thought that the Pals signed peace agreements and so on and so forth actually agreeing to do the opposite, but Steve here believes they're not worth the paper they're printed on. And as Soccer Dad points out, "combatting Israeli occupation is coded language, not just for attacking soldier but for attacking civilians too." Why not? It's their right!

On to The Erlanger Plan. As is typical in such "news analyses", Erlanger projects his notoriously pro-Palestinian opinions behind "diplomats":

So diplomats are trying to come up with a set of words that could make Hamas a more acceptable client. One senior Western diplomat said Hamas was thinking about supporting a government led and dominated by technocrats, and not formally led by Hamas.

Under The Erlanger Plan, Hamas would recognize a Saudi "peace plan" that essentially is an Israeli "surrender plan," in which Israel retreats to the '67 borders in return for ..... nothing. Erlanger concedes that this plan "does not exactly recognize Israel." (No s--t, Sherlock.)

The Erlanger Plan calls for Hamas to endorse the Saudi non-plan to "provide the words sufficient to ending its isolation." Then "Hamas could also agree to prolong the current 'cease-fire' with Israel for a year or more," keep a "kind of unwritten temporary armistice with Israel," tone down the rhetoric (i.e., improve its propaganda, with Steve's help). Steve assures us Hamas is "already doing" that.

"If Mr. Abbas works with a technocratic prime minister, with Hamas approving policy from behind a screen, that would be a long way from the 'transformation' of Hamas, and it would not be very satisfactory for Israel," says The Erlanger Plan. "But in the real world of diplomacy, it may just be enough." It would certainly be enough for the New York Times, needless to say.

Oddly missing from the Erlanger Plan "analysis" is that President Bush in his State of the Union Address last night couldn't have been more emphatic in saying that spraying perfume on the Hamas pig is not acceptable. OK, maybe the prez was fibbing when he said, pretty bluntly, that Hamas "must disarm" and "recognize Israel." Erlanger didn't mention any of that stuff and, in fact, his unambiguous statement of U.S. policy went totally unnoticed in the State of the Union.

In fact, the Times gave more attention to a cheap publicity stunt by the Gold Star Moron, Cindy Sheehan, than it did this clear statement of U.S. policy toward Hamas.

I think we'll be seeing more of The Erlanger Plan in the weeks ahead, as the Times news and editorial pages grapple with the defeat of one of the central tenets of the Sulzberger Indifference Template -- the myth of Palestinian moderation.


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